The first European to explore Florida was actually a Spanish sailor named Juan Ponce de León in 1513, not the more well-known Christopher Columbus.
Glades County, located in southwest Florida, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Calusa and Seminole. These indigenous groups thrived due to the abundance of natural resources and the region's proximity to the Caloosahatchee River.

During the 19th century, Glades County became a frontier region, attracting settlers and pioneers seeking a new life. In 1887, the region was officially established as Glades County, named after the vast wetlands and marshes that characterize the area. The development of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in the early 20th century brought further growth and economic opportunities to Glades County, connecting it to other parts of Florida.

Agriculture played a significant role in Glades County's history, especially in the early years. Cattle ranching and farming, particularly citrus and sugar cane cultivation, became major industries. The fertile soil and warm climate contributed to the success of agriculture in the county. The establishment of the US Sugar Corporation in the 1930s solidified the county's reputation as a key player in the sugar industry.

Glades County also played a role in World War II. Due to its favorable climate and isolation, the U.S. government established an airfield and training base in the area to support military operations. The airport facility, known as the LaBelle Army Airfield, trained pilots for combat duties during the war.

Today, Glades County continues to embrace its agricultural heritage while diversifying its economy. It offers various outdoor recreational activities, including fishing, hunting, and birdwatching, providing both locals and visitors with opportunities to experience the unique ecological features of the region. With its rich history and natural beauty, Glades County remains a special place in the state of Florida.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Glades County, Florida.

  • 1836 - Glades County is established as a county in Florida.
  • 19th century - The area is primarily inhabited by Native American tribes.
  • 1884 - Moore Haven is founded as a town in Glades County.
  • 1920s - Economic growth and development of Glades County, spurred by the drainage of nearby wetlands.
  • 1920 - The S.S. Lillian Russell, a passenger steamboat, sinks in Lake Okeechobee, resulting in significant loss of life.
  • 1923 - The first bridge across Lake Okeechobee, connecting Glades County to Palm Beach County, is completed.
  • 1926 - The Great Miami Hurricane devastates Glades County, causing widespread destruction and loss of life.
  • 1930s - The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) establishes several camps in Glades County, contributing to local employment and infrastructure development.
  • 1947 - The construction of the Herbert Hoover Dike begins, providing flood control around Lake Okeechobee.
  • Mid-20th century - Agriculture and farming become major industries in Glades County.
  • 1965 - Lakeport, located in Glades County, is incorporated as a town.
  • 1990s - Glades County experiences population growth and increasing tourism.